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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I never will forget the first time I met a Russian orphan who had just been adopted by American parents.

It was 2003, and I was on a flight out of Moscow. A little boy with big brown eyes sat in the seat next to me. A man sat on the other side of the boy, and it was clear from their clenched hands that they were traveling together.

I was scribbling in a notebook when I noticed that the child was leaning over, trying to read. I smiled and asked his name.

“He doesn’t speak much English,” the man said, smiling. “My wife and I just adopted him and his younger sister.” He pointed to a woman sitting with a little girl several rows ahead of us. His story bubbled up.

“This is our fourth and final flight from Russia,” he said, patting the boy’s head. “This time, we fly out as a family.”

Over the course of the next couple of hours, I learned a lot about the brand-new family. The adults, both teachers in the Midwest, had heard about the two children through an American agency that worked with Russian orphanages. The children had been split up, and the couple were determined to reunite them.

The story of their young lives — as much of it as the adoptive parents could discern — was heartbreaking. The biological father abandoned their mother; she died in their apartment when the girl was a toddler. The boy, barely 4, took care of his little sister for weeks, carrying her wherever he went in search of food. Eventually, authorities discovered their mother’s body, and the children were separated and sent to two different orphanages.

It took more than a year for the American couple to adopt the children. They visited Russia several times to get to know the boy and girl. The father, who was clearly exhausted, could not stop smiling at his little boy.

I haven’t thought of that family in years, but news last week that Russia has passed a law prohibiting Americans from adopting Russian children brought it all back. The law went into effect New Year’s Day. Now thousands of American families who already have invested a lot of time, money and emotion to adopt Russian children — children they know by name, whom they’ve visited and promised a better life — are grieving.

8 Responses to What Now For The Orphans Of Russia?

    • Yes, medical experiments for the lot of ’em because every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great, and if a sperm gets wasted, God gets quite irate.

      Now it’s killing me trying to remember the Monty Python movie that scene was from.

      It’s still an awful story though.

  1. I feel sorry for the Russian children that would have benefitted from being adopted by American families, but I can’t say that I have too much sympathy towards those that want to adopt children and pursue their quest in other countries rather than ours. If their goal is to give an orphan or an abandoned child a home, why don’t they adopt the tens of thousands of African American children that end up in foster homes because not enough American families want to adopt them, or end up in Canada where people are happy to adopt them?
    Yes, our adoption laws are cumbersome and should be changed, but if people in other countries can manage to adopt American children, why can’t American families do the same?

      • No they are not better off in orphanages,but we have no right to demand that any country should allow us to adopt their children. Once again we think we can demand that the rest of the world bow down to our wishes. We have plenty of poor children here in America, that no one seems to give a damn about, regardless of color. The Russians have every right to not allow foreigners to adopt their children.Should we in turn make our children available to other countries for adoption. How arrogent can we get?

    • may have issues that makes raising them a nightmare. i’ve seen 3 year old children raised in homes smothered in sexual indescretions, constant drug use, violence, profanity. it’s insane the thing i see just trying to have ‘normal’ relationships with American-Afrocan women. during the childs first few formative years it’s saturated i sh*t. adopting one of these even if they are phsyicaly healthy is a dangerous gamble.

  2. I do not understand that with so many needy and adoptable children here in the USA anyone wants to adopt from Russia?

    Is it a “status thing?” Like owning a Lamborghini?

    Think local—adopt local–support the poor and adoptable children in the USA.

  3. Really sweet. The Russian mobster/government/oligarchs murder a straight-arrow lawyer who wouldn’t roll over and Putin and Co. punish the poor Russian orphans, who would envy Dicken’s kids lives. That’s equivalence all right Vlad, why tens of thousands protested your rule outside the Kremlin. Once a KGB thug….

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